I wish to know the method of doing mas'h (wiping over) socks or shoes, etc. Especially, how do I enter into a state wherein I can perform mas'h. Also, can I perform mas'h over cotton or nylon socks?
"MasH" مَسْح in Arabic means to wipe, to rub, to wash, to clean, or to mop.
I will use washing or wiping, since these are more popular.
The ruling on MasH is legalized by Allah in Surah al-Ma'idah 5:6 =
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ
O you who have believed, when you rise to prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and your feet to the ankles...
The words "waArjolikom ilAlka'Abayni" gives us the legality of wiping or washing our feet up to our ankles because it's connected with "wa" to the previous description of MasH on head.
It's important to mention that this verse can be recited in TWO DIFFERENT ways. Both ways come directly from Rasolullah's teachings. This has nothing to do with Sunni or Shi'a ways. It's about Allah and the Prophet.
First way, is reciting it "waArjilikom" with kasra on lam, which links it back to "your heads," hence, legalizing wiping of feet.
Second second, is reciting it "waArjolikom" with fatha on lam, which links it back to "your forearms to elbows," hence, legalizing washing of feet.
Imaam at-Tabari in his tafsir of this ayah, says that both washing or wiping our feet is ACCEPTABLE because both recitations are from Allah. So, no one can claim one is better than the other. Otherwise, they would be rejecting the Quran one way or another. Both ways are acceptable.
Now, HOW do we do masH?
Since the ayah in Surah al-Ma'idah 5:6 is referring to feet. We must have done wudhu before putting anything on our feet.
The ayah doesn't legalize wearing anything before wudhu because of "waArjolikom" or "waArjilikom" - literally in Arabic it means "and your feet" i.e. barefoot, nothing on your skin.
Once we have done wudhu, then we put on our footwear. But the footwear must be up to our ankles as wiping is permitted up to that.
I specifically used the word "footwear," as anything that's considered as footwear is acceptable.
No matter what the footwear is from, whether cotton, leather, wool, or even made out of wood or leaves. It's still considered footwear and the general rule of wiping applies to all.
Another way to prove that the wudhu must be done prior to making wudhu is an authentically proven hadith from 'Orwa bin al-Moghira from his father al-Moghira saying=
"One night I was out wondering around with the Prophet. He said to me: "Do you have any water?" I said: Yes. He came off from his camel and went on until he disappeared in the darkness of night. He then came back and I poured water for him from the jar.
He washed his face. He had a woolen gown on him and he could not bring out his forearms from it. So he brought them out from under his gown. He washed his forearms, wiped over his head. I went to take off his Khuffayn. But he said: Leave them, I put them on pure." and did masH over them."
The wording is from Imam Muslim's collection as the narrators were more clearer in reporting it = حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ نُمَيْرٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا زَكَرِيَّاءُ، عَنْ عَامِرٍ، قَالَ أَخْبَرَنِي عُرْوَةُ بْنُ الْمُغِيرَةِ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ
Surah al-Maidah 5:6 obligates wudhu before prayer and permits wiping or washing the feet.
Anything that's considered footwear is allowed, since there's no evidence restricting the generality of the verse or saying related to Rasolullah.
Rasolullah demonstrated that he was pure prior to putting on his khuffayn, therefore, he did masH over them and didn't take them off.
Him doing wudhu shows he had broken is wudhu.
First of all, this is debatable between Sunni and Shia .
5:6 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ ۚ
Sunni says that you must wash your feet while Shia said that wipe on your feet is what needed.
And every sect has their proves. I'm not going to insert these talks but for your answer because the initial different is in Arabic language whether the conjunction letter و in وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ refer to the وامسحوا which means wipe as Shia says or whether refers to فاغسلوا as Sunni says.
If you are Shia then there is no problem since Shia is already says to wipe over feet and not wash. But for wiping over coton or nylon socks, this is forbidden by most of the Marajeaa but some of them said you can do that as you can be sure that the wet will reach your feet and since this will not happen then it's forbidden. and there is another case when one feels from disease or other unusual big fear
مسألة 97: لا يجزي المسح على الحائل ــ كالخف والجورب ــ لغير ضرورة بل يشكل أيضاً الاجتزاء به مع الضرورة في غير حال التقية الخوفية، فلا يترك الاحتياط حينئذٍ بضم التيمم، وأما في حال التقية فيجتزئ به وإن كان الاحتياط في محله.
You are forbidden to wipe over anything other than your foot skin unless there is a great damage for you
The procedure is simple. First do the complete wudhu (as prescribed in the Sunnah) and then wear your socks (in the state of wudhu). The socks must cover the ankles. So if you're travelling or in a public place and it is difficult to wash your feet, one can perform mash (i.e. gently wiping over your socks (top part) with wet hands).